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New eating disorders e-learning programme for medical students and foundation doctors

Posted on: April 7th, 2021 by Hannah Denness No Comments

Health Education England elearning for healthcare (HEE elfh) has worked with Beat and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to develop an elearning programme to help medical students and foundation doctors feel more confident in identifying and assessing patients with eating disorders.

The elearning is designed to ensure that all medical students and foundation doctors are trained to understand, identify and respond appropriately when faced with a patient with a possible eating disorder.

This programme is designed to enable them to:

  • Identify the major eating disorders and spot the early warning signs
  • Understand the role of starvation in eating disorders and the effects on the brain
  • Understand common challenges experienced by clinicians identifying people with eating disorders
  • Identify the occurrence of eating disorders in patients who may present with other conditions
  • Understand how to assess for an eating disorder
  • Understand from sufferers of eating disorders about how they confronted their illness
  • Recognise the official guidance and care pathways available

It was developed in response to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) investigation into avoidable deaths from eating disorders, as outlined in recommendations from the Ignoring the Alarms: How NHS Eating Disorder Services are Failing Patients report (PHSO, 2017).

A 2017 survey and review of undergraduate training found that the majority of UK doctors receive less than 2 hours of training and eating disorders during their 10-16 years of medical training and approximately 20% do not receive any training at all (Ayton and Ibrahim, 2018).

While the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS, 2007) in England found that 6.4% of adults screened positive for an eating disorder.

Programme partners are Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Eating Disorders.

For more information and to access the elearning programme, visit the programme page.

elfh is a Health Education England programme in partnership with the NHS and professional bodies